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Three boys arrested in animal killings at California high school

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Six animals being used for student projects were killed when vandals broke into a Silicon Valley high school in California over the weekend, and three boys have been arrested in connection with the crime, authorities said on Tuesday.

Police were called on Monday after caretakers found four chickens, a duck and a rabbit dead in their pens on the campus of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, school district spokeswoman Jennifer Derrico said.

Derrico declined to say how the animals had been killed but said one chicken and one rabbit were left unharmed by the attackers, who also vandalized a snack shack on the football field and an on-campus automotive shop.

"The animals were very integrated into our school community so it's understandable that our students and staff are very traumatized by this right now," she said.

"We are a tight community and the police department took this very seriously and were able to apprehend who they believe are the persons responsible," Derrico said. "So, there is relief there."

Three boys of middle-school age were arrested on Monday on suspicion of vandalism, burglary and cruelty to animals, said Lieutenant Kurt Clarke, Santa Clara police spokesman.

He said the young suspects' names would not be released because of their age and that it was not clear if they remained in custody on Tuesday or had been released to their parents.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Gunna Dickson)

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